|Venue: All England Club Events: June 27 – July 10|
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Defending champion Novak Djokovic began his quest for a fourth straight Wimbledon title with a hard-fought four-set win over South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo under the Center Court roof.
Djokovic is aiming to win a seventh title at SW19 which would put him one behind Roger Federer’s men’s record.
Serbia’s top seed prevailed 6: 3, 3: 6, 6: 3, 6: 4 against number 81 in the world.
The victory extends the former world number one’s winning streak at Wimbledon to 22 games.
Djokovic prevails as Kwon steps up to Center Court
As tradition dictates, defending men’s singles champion Djokovic was chosen to begin proceedings on Center Court as the Championships returned at full capacity on Monday.
The 35-year-old world number three is the favorite to defend the title again in the absence of senior Daniil Medvedev – suspended following Wimbledon’s decision to deny entry to Russian and Belarusian players – and the injured Alexander Zverev.
He defeated a spirited opponent to bolster that tally, organizing a second-round meetup with Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis or Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak.
It was 24-year-old Kwon who, to the delight of an excited crowd on center court, landed the first punch, stunning the top seed with a break to 15 and again giving up just a single point as he used an impressive variety to take one 3: 1 to consolidate advantage.
But Djokovic relented and broke back before another allowed him to serve the opening set with a five-game streak.
Undeterred, Kwon, who won his only ATP title so far in Astana last September, reacted with a break to make it 3-1 in the second set and impressively secured three break points from a 0:40 deficit to secure his place in the following game stay way to level the competition.
Emboldened by the crowd as he continued to press in game three, the South Korean failed to find a break point in game five – allowing Djokovic to strike late and retake the lead.
They proved crucial moments as Djokovic, after saving a break point in the opening game, finally prevailed in the fourth set.
A single break was enough for him to record his 80th win at SW19 and weather a tricky first-round encounter.